Maybe it’s all the caffeine I’ve had today. Maybe it’s the sunshine and the cool breeze. Maybe it’s the church service, the music, the small little joys I’ve been finding tucked around each corner. It could be any number of things, really.
Although, I know it has nothing to do with being well rested because I am absolutely EXHUASTED. But maybe this exhaustion is a part of the story – maybe it’s opened my eyes to some of the little pleasures in life which don’t seem so little anymore.
This has been a summer full of 5 minute showers, poor quality coffee, quite a notable consumption of cookies, late nights, early mornings, road trips, hotel rooms, long practice hours, many, MANY concerts and performances, lots of new friends, and a summer with which God has shaped my heart.
This time next week, I will be flying down the road with the sunroof open, sunglasses on, and worship music blasting through my car speakers. I am so thrilled and excited to close one chapter and be slowly begin another one. It has been super tough to stay present here in Westport NY as I have been frantically trying to prepare for the coming travels to VA and then the start of what is looking like it will be a crazy tough, but hopefully very rewarding, semester back in Michigan. Life never seems to slow down, does it?
There are still battles in my life which I hope to continue working towards overcoming. There are still strongholds in places where I wish I could say there weren’t any. There are fights left to be fought and mendings that still need to be made. I have more broken relationships than I would like to admit and I have farther to go still, than I previously acknowledged or realized. It’s true that sometimes we are our own worst enemies and our best self sabatogers.
In a world that applauds and encourages exhaustion and a life built on caffeine consumption, I want to aim to be different. In a world that magnifies lives that are plant based, fitness based, and restrictive of certain things, I want to aim to be well rounded. In a world that shuts off and blocks out any hope of a Savior, of an all mighty God, I want to be the voice that speaks up.
In a world where 1+0=1 I want to change the equation – I want to be better at math. I want to show others that 1+0 actually equals infinity. We aren’t walking through this life alone. We are walking through this life with Jesus by our sides, leading our every steps if only we can turn the world around us off momentarily and seek Him out. Sometimes I feel as though it’s me against the world and in those moments I find that I am consumed by depression, hopelessness, anxiety, and emotional/spiritual/physical/mental exhaustion.
It would be silly not to admit that there are dangers we face that are bigger than we are. There are enemies out there that are stronger than we are. It is so easy to live in fear.
But living in fear is not how God wants us to be living. We serve GOD. We do NOT serve our current circumstances or other people. We serve GOD. When it’s me + God the answer ALWAYS = VICTORY. But when it’s me + no one the answer always = defeat. When people are big and God is small, there is no hope for winning the battle. Sometimes it’s hard NOT to live in fear when a solution to a trial we’re facing is nowhere in sight. There is no battlefield that is outside of God’s reach. We are NEVER left to our own resources. We can run full speed, head first into a battle knowing that God is already there – fighting for us and protecting us.
I have seen this equation play out time and time again, and especially this summer. I can always pinpoint, in hindsight of course, when I was fighting alone and not allowing God to lend a helping hand. I can see, looking back, the times where I was convinced that no one else could possibly understand me or what I was up against – I couldn’t tell you all the battles I lost because I walked into them unarmed and alone.
Even more than the battles I’ve lost, are the battles that I’ve won because I went into them with Christ in my heart and on my tongue. Even stepping foot on the campus of Meadowmount, I knew, would start a war inside of me. There is so much emotion and so many battles here that I lost in years past. But this summer I walked onto the campus with God by my side. I stepped foot into the dining hall, into the dorm, into my lessons, coachings, rehearsals, and practice room with God holding my hand. I remember in the toughest moments (because yes, there have still been MANY tough moments) that the battles I face and the wars that are raging are not truly mine to fight. I just have to stand firm in the word of God and hold my ground, professing my love for HIM and HE will do all the fighting. It’s impossible to NOT be VICTORIOUS when you’re fighting alongside Christ.
I’m going to be very real here:
There are times in my life when I wonder if I will EVER fully recover from this eating disorder. There are times when I wonder if there is any hope of me having a “normal” family of my own – a fully functioning, healthy family. There are times when I wonder if certain relationships in my life can ever be mended or restored. There are still times that I wonder if certain parts of me will ever be complete ever again, if they’ll ever be “good enough” or even just “alright”. There are times I wonder if all the bad things that have happened to me – the abuse, the bullying, the disorder(s), the difficult times, etc – if it’s all my fault. There are times I wonder if the things that have happened to my family are all my fault as well – my dad’s heart attack and health in general, my mom’s heart ache for broken relationships, my sister’s hatred for me and everything I do and who I am, etc. There are still times in my life when I wonder why I am alive, why my existence even matters, and what the point is of living.
These thoughts and feelings slip into my mind gradually and then begin to take over and I know that they come from Satan. I know that the Lord, my God would never question my existence because it is by His hand that I exist. I see the ways He has led me and the people He has had me cross paths with. I am humbled by the broken and the way I have been equipped by God to provide a few of them with hope and messages of healing. I am inspired by the strength and confidence of those who He has led me too in order to help me heal and grow in His love, also. I couldn’t even count the number of sweet souls I have met this summer who have helped me grow in some way – ways that range from music, to confidence, to my relationship in Christ, and everything in between.
This summer has bee tough. It’s been humbling, uplifting, inspiring, strengthening, exhausting, but worth every single battle that I’ve faced. I know that there are wars and battles ahead of me. I know I still have one more week here – but I feel as though I have been victorious this summer. And then I have to remind myself that it is not MY victory to own, but it is the victory that I have received through Christ, my Savior.
Keep fighting. Keep striving. And keep searching for the one who wins every single battle.
“Self-sufficiency is the enemy of salvation. If you are self-sufficient, you have no need of God. If you have no need of God, you do not seek Him. If you do not seek Him, you will not find Him.”
― William Nicholson